When did I first hear the call?
The first time I heard the call was at my first communion. I was seven and did not know about any such thing. All I knew was that I wanted to belong totally to Jesus and that thought brought me joy. I wish I could report that I kept that ideal but I did not. Why? Maybe I did not trust that this call was real; also I had never met anyone living this way. So I got married and soon had five children. However my husband was an alcoholic and we were separated. There I was, alone, with five children under eight. What was I to do? The wise thing family and friends thought was to find a nice Christian guy and try this whole thing again. But God had other plans and in the midst of all my worries and fears I heard the call again. Of course there was joy but I thought I have to be reasonable, don’t I? After pondering it for another 3 years I said “yes” to this beautiful way of life in March 1996 and made a public declaration in August of 2000.
What sustains me in this calling?
The most important thing for me is time alone with God in both quality and quantity. If I cut this time short I forget why I am doing this and it becomes drudgery.
Single parenting and celibacy, how does that work?
That was a deep concern of mine; would this choice make life harder on my children? The answer is the divorce made life a struggle but celibacy brought stability and a sense of peace to the home. While we never had much money, my children love each other and treat me with respect and in it all God is glorified. I am the least of all celibates and do not consider myself equal to those who have been true since their youth. But I am grateful that God made something beautiful out of past mistakes. My hope is in His Kingdom when we will see Him as He is.
What has been my biggest struggle?
Unbelief! “Is that God really calling you? Are you sure?” This has left me weak but God is strong and that is my hope. Another pitfall for me was to ask everyone and their uncle about the call. While it is good to check in with a trusted friend or spiritual adviser at the end of the day no one knows that tug in a celibate’s heart and it cheapens the call when we try to defend it from those who just don’t understand. Keep holy things holy. This call is holy!
Next week: book review by Lisa